Venison Chili


January to February is chili season, directly following Christmas cookie season. Easy, fast, spicy, warming, and and easy way to feel like you've eaten a round meal with just one bowl.

Dangerously close to a year ago I was given venison loin by my cousin Mary-Tyler. The venison was hunted by her half of the family, likely in Virgina. Mary-Tyler will correct me in the comments if I'm wrong. I wasn't sure if the venison would be freezer burned (from a year in the freezer) or if the meat would be too strong. The venison was neither, and I ate a hunk hot off the stove. It was a little bit of a waste to cover up great meat in chili, but this is some outstanding chili. One thing to note, I defrosted the venison on a shallow plate in the fridge. The plate was brimming with blood when it thawed, and got everywhere. Gross. Watch out.

Venison Chili

1 lb venison
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tblsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more)
1 tblsp ground cumin (I fresh roast and grind cumin seeds for much better flavor)
1 tsp ground coriander (roasted and ground seeds preferred)
2 tsp chili powder (ditto with above)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
2 cans water

Put venison a stock pot with 1/4 cup vinegar and water to cover 1 inch. Let sit for 3-5 hours. Soaking in vinegar is supposed to tenderize the meat and remove gamy flavor. I'm not too sure if you should soak the meat longer or shorter period of time. I couldn't find specific directions online. Please leave your thoughts in the comments if you know better. When ready to make chili remove venison from the water, and wring out. Pat with many, many paper towels to dry.

Add oil to a stockpot and heat over high fire until oil is smoking. Salt the venison and carefully add to the stock pot. Cook until browned, turning to brown each side. Remove and let sit 5-10 minutes. Don't worry if the venison is raw on the inside, you aren't done cooking it.

Add onions and salt to the pot and saute over medium heat until transparent. Add chopped garlic and spices. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the crushed tomatoes and beans with fluids. Fill each bean can with water and add to the pot. Stir. Cut the browned venison into 3/4 inch chunks and return to the pot with any drippings. Stir again. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve. Tastes great with beer and cornbread. Makes about 8 cups of chili.


  1. My coworker keeps me supplied with venison as well. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Your marinade time of 3-5 hours in vinegar is probably good. If you slow cook the chili for longer (several hours on low heat), the marinading is not necessary for tenderizing, but will add flavor. You can marinade venison in vinegar for several days, and it will be very tender. I have a recipe for venison sauerbraten which calls for a vinegar marinade for 3-4 days and slow roasting and it turns out tender and tasty.


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